Tony Scott on Enterprise Architecture


CIO Magazine has an interview with Tony Scott on Enterprise Architecture. One of the things Tony does is make sure none of his peers hear the term "enterprise architecture." In the end, this is all about simplifying IT infrastructures and processes by creating a context and structure within which IT operates. For it to work, that context must be based on the business. Tony talks about simplicity and gives an example from OnStar:

We don't ever want IT to be the thing that holds GM back. And to the extent that you have complexity in your IT environment, you tend to make it more difficult to change or take advantage of new opportunities. Companies that operate without an architectural approach end up like Gulliver, tied down by tens of thousands of Lilliputian strings and wires. If he's going to move, you have to cut 10,000 strings. If the company practices enterprise architecture, you will have fewer strings to cut and more freedom of movement.

One of the best places that we put this to use was over at OnStar. We worked with them, trying to understand the new customer services they were going to put in place. We created a map of the business activities and which IT systems, either current or proposed, would fulfill those activities. Which systems will provide enrollment for OnStar subscribers? Which ones will provide support for emergency calls?

We discovered some gaps where OnStar had assumed that there was already a certain system functionality that we didn't have yet. Then there were also a couple of cases where there were overlaps÷where the same function was provided in two different systems÷requiring us to choose which system should actually provide this functionality. Without this enterprise architecture process, we would have gone much further down the development road without realizing these problems. We probably would have paid systems integrators to develop those systems, and only when we got to testing or even to deployment would we have discovered these gaps and overlaps. So by engaging this process up front, we got to the goal line faster.
From GM's Cure for Complexity - Architecture - CIO Magazine Sep 1,2004
Referenced Wed Sep 08 2004 18:56:43 GMT-0600

I just bought a new Suburban with OnStar. I'll let you know how the subscriber process works out. :-) As an aside, it also has XM radio, which I'm beginning to like a lot.